While people do take CBD oil (or other forms of CBD) with antibiotics, it is always wise to consult with your physician before doing so. CBD oil has been shown to possess antimicrobial properties, particularly useful in attacking bacteria that are resistant to traditional antibiotics. Cannabis has been proven to safely help lessen the negative effects of many illnesses. If the illness requires antibiotics, is it safe to consume cannabis?
Can You Use CBD Oil if You’re on Antibiotics?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is now one of the most famous cannabis/hemp products in the world, with more people than ever choosing to medicate with the compound as opposed to more conventional medications. There are a vast array of reasons for CBD’s popularity, not least that it comes with very few side effects, cannot be overdosed on, and is non-psychoactive!
Due to the reasons we have mentioned above, CBD is accessible for all ages, from children to the elderly, with the apparent lack of adverse effects associated with the cannabinoid making it an excellent option for many.
So with that in mind, are there any situations in which CBD should be avoided? One question we get asked all the time is whether CBD can still be taken when on antibiotics, so to answer that question, we delved into the science behind the myth in order to bring you our comprehensive guide to taking CBD while on antibiotics.
What Are Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are prescribed by the millions across America every year to combat a wide range of bacterial infections. A form of antimicrobial drug, antibiotics are used to either treat or prevent further bacterial infections from occurring.
Even in today’s society, antibiotics are crucial to saving us from often lethal bacteria that would undoubtedly have caused the death of millions back before antibiotics were discovered in 1928.
Studies into how antibiotics work within our bodies have shown that certain medications can interfere with their efficacy, and as such, you should always consult your doctor before combining antibiotics with any other medicines.
Can CBD and Antibiotics Be Taken Together?
Among the range of medications shown to interact with antibiotics is CBD, so what does this mean for those patients who depend on the cannabinoid on a daily basis? Can you still fight off bacterial infections while medicating with CBD or not?
Cytochrome P-450 System
First of all, it is essential to understand how CBD works with antibiotics, and this all comes down to our body’s Cytochrome P-450 System, which is responsible for metabolizing potentially dangerous toxins. Many of us are unaware of the Cytochrome P-450 system, but it is an incredibly vital part of the human body. Without it, we could be exposed to a range of dangerous toxins on a daily basis!
However, over 60% of the drugs we consume pass through this system, and this is where things can get complicated.
This purifying system is located within the liver and has up to 50 enzymes at work to remove potentially harmful toxins. Depending on the drug and its dosage, the Cytochrome P-450 system requires a different period of time to metabolize. Certain drugs can have a direct impact on the efficacy of the system and how long it takes to process a particular drug.
Among the many different drugs that can have an impact on the Cytochrome system are antibiotics, steroids, anesthetics, antidepressants, beta-blockers, and many more! But what exactly does this mean for CBD users?
CBD has actually been shown to inhibit the Cytochrome P-450 system, which can alter the way the system metabolizes certain other drugs that pass through – in this case, antibiotics. In other words, there is a chance that those consuming antibiotics and CBD at the same time could be at risk of taking less or more antibiotics than required, which could be dangerous and even lead to an overdose.
Now, it is essential that we make it clear from the start that this isn’t a common occurrence, nor does it mean that those on antibiotics must not consume CBD at the same time. However, what it does say is that a doctor MUST be consulted before adding either CBD or antibiotics to your list of medications.
The Importance of Consulting a Medical Professional
Put simply, antibiotics and CBD can interact with the internal system that keeps things in check, and this could potentially lead to dangerous outcomes if approached irresponsibly. Due to CBD having the ability to either slow down or speed up the metabolism process of other drugs within our Cytochrome P-450 system, it means that we could end up with higher doses of drugs in our system than what is safe.
The simple solution to this is to consult your doctor first. Your doctor should be able to look at your specific dosage of CBD and antibiotics and alter the amounts so that there can be no harmful outcomes if consuming both together.
This should be a rule of thumb with any medication that is affected by cannabidiol, so we can’t stress enough the importance of checking with a doctor before adding CBD to your list of treatments.
Will Every Antibiotic Interact with CBD?
It is important to note that, while any medication can interact with CBD, not every medication within that category will. So in this case, not every antibiotic will be impacted by CBD, and again it is a good idea to check with your doctor about your specific medication first.
Can CBD Interact with Medication in Other Ways?
As we now know, CBD works with our endocannabinoid system to improve the production of natural cannabinoids. As such, it is natural to assume that CBD may interact with antibiotics – as well as other medications – in some way.
While it is true that CBD can have a potentially negative impact in the case of antibiotics, it is also true that the compound can have a range of positive interactions with other medications, which has led to many patients requiring a lower dosage!
We have seen dozens of cases where patients have been able to reduce their prescription meds or even stop taking them altogether as a result of the actions of CBD, but having this core understanding of the way CBD interacts with different drugs is vital in avoiding any unpleasant or dangerous side effects!
Final Thoughts on Taking CBD with Antibiotics
So, can you still take CBD while on antibiotics? The short answer is yes. However, in many cases dosage may need to be altered, so always consult with your doctor before changing any medications.
CBD Oil and Antibiotics – August 2022
Antibiotics are used to prevent or treat specific types of bacterial infections. In some cases, they are prescribed for an infection that keeps coming back or causes an increased risk of complications.
However, antibiotics are not effective against viral infections, such as the common cold or flu (1 ) .
Can CBD Be Taken With Antibiotics?
There is no known interaction between CBD (cannabidiol) and antibiotics. However, there is a potential risk when combining CBD and antibiotics, as both are metabolized (broken down) through the cytochrome P450 enzyme system (2 ) .
Due to how antibiotics are metabolized, the concentrations of these drugs could potentially increase when taken with CBD.
The CYP450 liver enzymes are responsible for breaking down toxic compounds, including over 60% of any over-the-counter or prescription drugs consumed.
Certain substances can affect processing times within this system, making drugs metabolize faster or slower than they would on their own.
Cannabidiol can inhibit the cytochrome P450 system’s ability to metabolize certain drugs, leading to an overall increase in processing times , resulting in potentially higher levels over a longer period of time (3 )
Antibiotics use the cytochrome P450 enzyme system and can interact with CBD, as reiterated by authors Eileen Konieczny, RN, and Lauren Wilson, in their book, Healing with CBD (4 ) .
Until studies that specifically look at how CBD interacts with antibiotics are completed, talk with a doctor to make sure there are no CBD drug interactions with other medications currently taken.
CBD Oil As Antibiotic: What the Research Says
CBD oil has been shown to possess antimicrobial properties, making it another tool for fighting infection.
Although it is not well-understood how CBD oil fights bacteria, studies have confirmed CBD’s antibiotic properties, which are particularly useful in attacking bacteria that have become resistant to traditional antibiotics.
One such study investigated how various cannabinoids, including CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), affect pathogenic bacteria (5 ) .
In the said study, each cannabinoid was tested against six strains of the antibiotic-resistant superbug, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). All cannabinoids showed potent activity against a variety of MRSA strains.
The results of the study indicated that CBD has proven to be effective at fighting one of the most treatment-resistant strains of bacteria the field of medicine has ever seen.
Then, the researchers at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience discovered in 2019, through a series of test-tube experiments, that CBD could kill numerous strains of bacteria, including treatment-resistant strains like VRSA , VISA , and MRSA (6 ) .
These strains have developed resistance to other existing Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antibiotics over the years. However, they did not develop any resistance to CBD.
In one of the experiments, the researchers found that despite exposing the strains to CBD for 20 days, this cannabis compound was able to outmaneuver the entire process of superbug development.
Moreover, CBD was found to be effective at disrupting biofilms, a microscopic conglomeration of bacteria, mucopolysaccharides, and waste products and act as a physical barrier that prevents antibiotics from working against the bacteria growth that leads to difficult-to-treat infections. This breakthrough in microbiology could ultimately lead to the development of new treatments.
Lead author, Mark Blaskovich, stated there was no doubt CBD possessed a unique mechanism that worked against bacteria resistant to other antibiotics. He admitted, however, that he and his team still could not explain how this mechanism works.
A later study , conducted in August 2019 by scientists from the United Kingdom, has shed light on the workings of that unique mechanism (7 ) .
In the said study, which was published in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, the authors examined the antibacterial effects of CBD and Escherichia Coli bacteria (E. coli)’s membrane vesicles, which the bacteria use to spread and communicate.
The researchers discovered that the antibiotic’s ability to prevent the release of those membrane vesicles is enhanced by CBD.
The results suggested that CBD could help fight specific bacteria as a tailored co-application with selected antibiotics.
The researchers concluded that CBD might help increase antibiotic activity and reduce antibiotic resistance when used in tailored co-application.
The results of the studies demonstrating CBD’s antibiotic properties are especially exciting for the CBD community.
However, it is essential to note that researchers still do not know what made CBD powerful at fighting the infections during the experiments.
All the research was carried out in a lab, in test tubes and on bacteria cultures, not on humans.
To date, there has been no study that recommends taking CBD with antibiotics. Neither is there a study that suggests CBD can replace antibiotics in the treatment or prevention of some types of bacterial infections.
Further research needs to be conducted to study the long-term side effects and resistance of CBD as an antibiotic.
Before taking CBD or any CBD products to treat or prevent any infection, do research and consult with a doctor experienced in cannabis use for advice.
Is It Safe to Consume Cannabis While Taking Antibiotics?
Many use cannabis for its pain-relieving properties. Smoking flower, or having a cup of cannabis-infused tea, can be just the thing to help you deal with the symptoms of chronic pain. There are many who choose to use cannabis to combat pain and it is even used when one has a cold or the flu to clear the head and relax the muscles, making one feel a little better. Cannabis is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, which is another reason for its continued increase in consumption across the globe.
However, what happens when antibiotics are involved? Many pain and inflammatory-based conditions or illnesses may have a treatment plan that includes antibiotics. Which is how many people know that it’s vital to be careful of drug interactions, especially when antibiotics are involved. This also explains the reason for your doctor inquiring to know which medications one is currently consuming, or even meds recently consumed. Read on to learn more.
While cannabis has proven safe and effective in alleviating an array of conditions and illnesses, if the condition or illness requires antibiotics, will it be safe to consume cannabis, too? Antibiotics have been known to render certain medications less effective when consumed simultaneously due to their interactions. When treatment plans are complicated by consuming interacting drugs, including cannabinoids, either drug levels can become altered. This may potentially pose a health risk.
However, a 2014 systematic review study suggests that CBD, CBN, and THC interactions with pharmaceutical drugs are generally low risk according to the available data, but further research is still necessary to determine the specific effects of metabolites and other effects. Certain medications can still be used with caution in conjunction with cannabinoids, so it’s important to tell your doctor about cannabis use first. So, in light of this possibility between antibiotics and cannabis, let’s assess the impact on effectiveness and risks.
What Are Common Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are often used to treat and prevent the contraction or spread of bacterial infections, not viral infections such as the common cold. According to the NHS, antibiotics are used in order to (1) clear up a problem such as acne, (2) prevent spread of conditions such as chlamydia, (3) speed up recovery in conditions such as a kidney infection or post-surgery and (4) reduce risks of serious infections and subsequent complications such as pneumonia as well as post-surgery risks. The NHS and the CDC also advise selective antibiotic use in order to minimize the spread of drug-resistant organisms.
There are hundreds of antibiotics with the potential to react with cannabis. Penn State News published a study which identified 139 common pharmaceutical medications that have the potential to react with cannabis. However, just because they only identified 139 out of hundreds does not mean that there is no risk of negative interactions among the rest. The following pharmaceuticals are the top ten most commonly used antibiotics, which will be looked at against the Penn State list.
- Combination: Amoxicillin and Clavulanate
- Combination: Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim
Dr. Kent Vrana, a professor and the chairman of pharmacology at the College of Medicine, along with Paul Kocis, compiled a shorter list of 57 medications based on the fact that they may not operate as intended when cannabis is being consumed, too. On the list these professionals compiled, the only antibiotic listed on the narrowed list is clindamycin. This also points out that the available pharmaceutical data this study draws from are still limited and incomplete, among other study limitations. Other safety data show such interactions likely pose a low but not insignificant risk.
Dr. Vrana and the rest of the research team wanted to provide physicians with comprehensive information to make safe prescription choices for the sake of their patients. Dr. Vrana stated that “it’s important for medical professionals to consider the list when prescribing medical cannabinoids and how it may affect other medications a patient is taking.”
Will Cannabis Reduce the Effectiveness of My Antibiotics?
You don’t want to see the effects of the antibiotics you’ve been given neutralized, nor have higher or lower levels of prescriptions or cannabis than intended. If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, they want you to take the full course of medication to make sure your infection is killed completely and also reduce the odds of developing antibiotic resistance in your body.
Fortunately, the evidence so far seems to suggest that cannabis may not significantly interfere with antibiotics. The antibiotic rifampin can decrease levels of CBD when taken together. However, the two are still well-tolerated when taken together. Caution should be used if you are also going to add on other drugs that are metabolized in the same way. More human research is needed to determine the exact effects and safety of cannabinoid and antibiotic co-administration, especially in the long-term and for special populations.
Additionally, cannabis has shown in studies to have antibacterial properties itself, proving somewhat effective against the difficult-to-treat MRSA bacterium. It may only be a matter of time before doctors are ready to add cannabis to the regimen of antibiotics they prescribe for patients who are having trouble kicking a nasty infection. Based on limited data to date, you can likely use cannabis while on antibiotics and the antibiotics should still do their job just fine. Remember that antibiotic treatment should be monitored by a qualified professional.
What Are the Risks of Using Cannabis While on Antibiotics?
The antibiotics will probably still be effective based on limited data to date, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t without risk. It’s important to understand that different drugs use different metabolic pathways in the liver. The metabolic pathway that processes cannabinoids is the same one used by many prescription drugs, including some antibiotics.
Is that a problem? The short answer is likely not. Despite using some of the same metabolic pathways, most medications don’t interact negatively with cannabis. And if they do, the interactions are so far reported as non-life threatening.
The somewhat longer answer is that one can’t be sure since satisfactory testing and research has not yet been conducted on cannabis and its full effects on the body, including its interactions with other pharmaceutical medications. It’s important to remember that every person is different, too. However, this is also not to say that cannabis use on its own is risk-free. There are short-term adverse events like dizziness, tiredness, dry mouth, and cognitive distortion while the long-term effects of cannabinoids are yet to be known.
Alternatives to Marijuana While on Antibiotics
While cannabis likely may not negatively interact with antibiotics, some may choose to consider alternatives to marijuana while being on antibiotics. One viable solution could be consuming cannabidiol (CBD) isolate products instead and avoiding full- and broad-spectrum CBD products. By doing this, the risks are reduced as additional psychoactive and intoxicating cannabinoids are reduced. Additionally, scientists have found that CBD could one day become an antibiotic of its own.
A study conducted in Australia, led by Mark Blaskovich, found that CBD “killed all the strains of bacteria they tested in a lab, including some which were highly resistant to existing antibiotics.” What’s even more impressive when considering CBD as an antibiotic candidate is that the study found no build up of resistance, even after 20 days of consuming CBD. The researchers also found that CBD has excellent activity against biofilms (this could potentially include dental plaque); against four Gram-negative bacteria (including the bacteria responsible for gonorrhea, meningitis, and airway infections like bronchitis and pneumonia); and reaffirmed it was effective against MRSA bacterium.
If you would like to avoid cannabis as a whole while being on antibiotics, one can consider consuming other botanicals, which also contain beneficial cannabinoids. Be sure to tell your healthcare providers of any health supplements you are taking, and remember that neither these nor cannabis can replace antibiotics.
Summary of Alternatives to Cannabis, or Marijuana, While Taking Antibiotics:
- Isolated CBD for its potential as an antibiotic and ability to kill gram-negative bacteria.
- Cacao, which is rich in anandamide, an endocannabinoid that may boost feelings of happiness amongst stressful times when dealing with bacterial conditions.
- Black pepper, which is rich in beta-caryophyllene and can assist with easing pain. It also provides anti-inflammatory properties.
- Echinacea (coneflower) is a potential remedy for colds and flus, but may also offer relief from anxiety, migraines, fatigue, nausea and conditions such as arthritis.
- Acmella oleracea, also known as electric daisy, which has the ability to block pain receptors in nerve endings while also reducing inflammation throughout the body. A 2019 review study confirmed the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activities of Acmella and demonstrated its promise for pain management for chronic degenerative diseases.
- Japanese liverwort has been found to contain a molecule structurally similar to THC that may possess powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it potentially offers benefits that are similar to those of THC.
The Final Verdict
You should first consult with your doctor before doing so, but it will probably be okay with them to take antibiotics and consume cannabis. This also presumes you are not worsening a lung infection with inhalational methods, and are aware of the side effects of antibiotics and potential adverse events of cannabis as well. Physicians are the experts on the antibiotics being prescribed, and they’ll be able to tell you with authority whether or not it will be appropriate for you.
Remember that despite the legal status of cannabis where you live, bringing questions to your doctor is always allowed, and your conversations are confidential. Your doctor will provide you medical advice without legal judgment. Also, remember that if you are still uncertain after consulting your primary physician, you can get a second opinion.
Lastly, it will be best to consume cannabis with care and in moderation at first, while avoiding methods of consumption that involve combustion as well as switching to CBD-only products for the duration of the antibiotic course to minimize adverse effects of high-THC cannabis.